Feds remove 'iconic' Terry Fox, Vimy Ridge Memorial from passport redesign

Ottawa launched a redesign of Canada's passport Wednesday that some say is an attempt to 'erase' the country's history.

Feds remove 'iconic' Terry Fox, Vimy Ridge Memorial from passport redesign
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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"I'm very pleased to be able to unveil Canada's redesigned next-generation passport. Along with the new cover, the inside pages feature artwork highlighting Canada's diverse people, landscapes and wildlife across the four seasons," Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told reporters.

The National Vimy Ridge Memorial and beloved icon Terry Fox are absent from the new passport.

According to Social Development Minister Karina Gould, the images of polar bears, people jumping in a lake, and birds in winter capture the "spirit of who we are as Canadians."

Federal officials claim the redesign features images and symbols that reflect Canadians today. "We are so proud of our…heritage," claimed Fraser, having consulted Canadian Heritage and Indigenous communities.

However, those changes provoked considerable pushback. 

"They erased Vimy Ridge to put in an image of a squirrel eating a nut. They erased Terry Fox, a guy who ran halfway across the country to fight cancer, to put in a man raking leaves. And they erased Quebec City to put in what appears to be an image of a boyhood prime minister swimming at Harrington Lake," said Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.

"Could this prime minister be any more out of touch with Canadians?" he asked the House of Commons.

On Thursday, the Vimy Foundation condemned the federal government for removing the National Vimy Memorial to "ensure security against counterfeit passports."

"The Vimy Foundation understands the need for security but is disappointed in the decision to remove one of Canada's most important icons…just one month after the 106th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Over 7,000 Canadians were wounded in the battle, and 3,598 soldiers lost their lives," reads their release.

The Royal Canadian Legion also expressed disappointment with removing the memorial, which signifies the "sacrifices made for the very sort of freedom the passport provides."

"The Vimy Memorial was a fundamental image, also representing a defining moment in Canada, a country emerging as an independent nation with limitless potential," said the Legion. "To put it bluntly, a poor decision."

The mayor of Terry Fox's hometown of Port Coquitlam, B.C., did not hold back over the removal of historical images from the passport. "My thought is that whoever made this decision needs to give their head a shake," said Brad West.

"Across this country, Terry Fox inspired and continues to inspire millions of Canadians. And millions of people around the world," continued West. "We need more, not less, Terry Fox."

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